Going to a marriage counselor can be intimidating, even frightening, if you don’t know what to expect. From fear of exposing your deepest secrets to uncertainty about how to speak freely in front of your spouse, anxiety can build simply because the process is new and unfamiliar. Getting an idea of what kind of questions might come up during a counseling session can help you relax and be ready to share.
Basic Relationship Structure
Though every counselor will have a personal order and method of asking questions, most marriage counselors will cover the same basic material in the first few sessions. This includes topics like the basic structure of the marriage relationship, which, according to MyOptumHealth.com, includes the role each partner plays, patterns of behavior, rules of the household or relationship, mutual and individual goals and beliefs.
The specific questions you might encounter include:
Who makes most of the decisions? (Roles)
Who should be in charge? (Roles/Beliefs)
What is one thing your spouse does repeatedly that irritates you? (Patterns)
What are the unspoken rules in your marriage? (Rules)
What one thing should your spouse never do? (Rules)
What is the goal of this marriage? (Goals)
What does a good marriage look like? (Goals/Beliefs)
Dealing With the Past
According to TheMarriageCounselingBlog.com, problems from the past can be sources of deep hurt that are masked by surface-level arguments. Marriage counselors will attempt to help both individuals in the marriage identify habits, hurts, assumptions, problems and experiences from the past that are negatively affecting their marriage in the present. Past issues may go all the way back to childhood, may stem from a previous relationship or marriage or may be rooted in infidelities or other problems that occurred earlier in the current marriage.
The specific questions covered in this area might be phrased as statements: Tell me about your father. Tell me about your mother. Tell me about your siblings.
Or they might be more specific questions:
What do you remember most from your childhood?
What were your past relationships like?
What was your first serious relationship?
Do you feel like you cannot trust your spouse because of something he or she did in the past?
Identifying the Issues
The goal of marriage counseling is to find solutions to the problems that exist in the marriage and to equip the couple with the appropriate tools for bringing those solutions into their relationship. The discussions about the structure of the relationship and the problems from the past will most likely point to a few issues that have to be addressed in order for the marriage to heal, grow and become strong. According to LifeScript.com, marriage counselors will ask questions to help couples identify the issues that are undermining their marriage.
These specific questions may include the following:
How do you deal with financial problems?
What do you most often argue about?
How do your parenting styles differ?
Do you feel like you cannot effectively communicate with your spouse?
What does your spouse do that repeatedly offends you or hurts your feelings?
What one thing would you change in your marriage, if you could change anything?